By Noreen Jazul
Zamboanga City Mayor Beng Climaco, on Wednesday, April 1, appealed to the Department of Health to set up a testing center in the city.
Currently, Climaco said Zamboanga relies on the C-130 mission of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) to deliver the swabs of their patients under investigation (PUIs) to the Research Institute for Tropical Medicine (RITM). Climaco also said not all swabs being brought to Manila are tested at the RITM.
“Out of all the swabs na dinadala noon [sa Manila], di lahat tinatanggap ng DOH dahil [meron silang] criteria (Not all swabs being brought to the Manila are being tested because DOH has criteria), ” Climaco told DZMM and added that it takes a week before they get the results for the patients.
“Sana mapakinggan ang aming ninanais to really have testing facilities available (I hope our request to have testing facilities in Zamboanga will be granted)…We can purchase our own testing kits, given we have a local testing center here,” the Zamboanga mayor said. She also noted that the nearest testing facility from the city is in Davao City.
Climaco also sought for the accreditation of the Zamboanga City Medical Center as the city’s referral facility for COVID-19 patients.
Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire, for her part, said the agency is “open” to requests of the LGUs in regions, but there needs to be a process.
Zamboanga City has two positive cases of COVID-19 and 59 PUIs.